Dental implants are often the preferred choice for replacing missing teeth, whether it’s one implant with a crown to replace a single tooth or multiple implants to secure a full denture firmly in place. Why? They look and function similar to natural teeth, and they can help ward off bone loss that can occur when missing teeth are left untreated or are replaced with a denture or bridge.
This is because the actual implant is surgically imbedded into the bone at the site of the missing tooth. Over time, the bone should grow and adhere to the implant, which functions as a tooth root. The body assumes the tooth/teeth are still in place. With dentures, there is no root and bone – which the body assumes is no longer needed to support teeth, may be absorbed.
So dental implants have significant health benefits. They may also look more natural, and last longer. They don’t interfere with your sense of taste, like dentures may do. But implants are also more expensive than other teeth replacement treatments like dental bridges and dentures.
How much do dental implants cost?
There are several types of dental implants, but the most commonly used are:
Endosteal: The complete restoration requires three parts – the implant itself – a titanium post which is placed into your jaw under the gum line, the abutment which is visible above your gum, and a dental crown that fits on top of the abutment and replaces the natural tooth.
Subperiosteal: are placed just above or onto the jawbone, and are used only in cases where people don’t have sufficient bone structure to support an endosteal implant.
Mini implants (MDIs): are gaining in popularity. These look like a toothpick-sized screw, are placed into the jawbone, and are typically used to secure a denture or bridge in place. They are also called small diameter implants (SDIs) or narrow body implants (NBIs). Standard implants are 3.4 to 5.8 mm wide, but mini implants are 1.8 to 3.3 mm in diameter. Just four mini implants may be enough to secure an entire lower denture. Besides being less expensive, getting mini implants is a less invasive and faster process. Your dentist will determine whether mini implants will work for you – they don’t
Costs*: A single, complete Endosteal implant can cost $3,000 to $4,500. A full or partial set of Endosteal dental implants can run from $20,000 to $45,000. The cost is about the same for a Subperiosteal implant.
Mini implants typically cost between $1,000-$1,500 per implant, or – when placed all at once – about $2,500 to $6,000 for 4-6 mini-implants to support a denture/bridge.
Dental Insurance That Covers Dental Implants?
Insurance typically doesn’t cover implants, which are often classified as a “cosmetic treatment.” Check your coverage documentation. If your dental insurance does include dental implants you may be able to save 10%-20% off the cost of your implants. But note that your annual cap – the total your dental insurance pays out every year – often is just $1000-$1500, about the cost of one mini-implant. That leaves you with a significant out-of-pocket cost. And remember that you may need to add the cost of tooth extraction to the final tally, even if your teeth are missing there may still be roots buried under your gumline that need to be removed. And if your jaw bone doesn’t have enough density to support implants, you may need a procedure to build up the bone.
If your insurance doesn’t cover implants, part of the procedure – such as the crown or dentures – may still be covered. It’s worth asking. And In rare cases, your medical insurance may cover the cost of dental implants that are medically necessary. Again, ask your dentist and/or insurance provider for guidance.
Dental Insurance Alternatives for Dental Implants
Health Savings Account: HSAs can often be used to pay for dental treatment. Check with the benefits coordinator at your workplace or your financial provider to confirm that dental implants – or perhaps parts of the procedure, such as the crowns or extractions – are a qualified health care expense.
Payment Plans: Your dentist may offer payment plans, or work with companies that provide short-term loans for healthcare expenses. Ask your dentist about funding options, but make sure to carefully review loan terms, and abide by payment schedules – interest on a short term loan can rise rapidly if you miss your payment due dates.
Dental Savings Plans: An affordable alternative to traditional dental insurance, dental savings plans can save plan members up to 25% on the cost of implants. Make sure the plan you join includes discounts for implants, of course.
See how much you can save with a dental savings plan.Use our calculator below >
And with dental savings plans, you get discounts on dental treatment within 72-hours of joining a plan, there are no waiting periods. Also, dental savings plans have no annual spending limit, which is especially important when you’re getting an expensive procedure like implants.
You can also save 10-60% on virtually all dental procedures, including dentures, root canals and crowns, bridges, fillings, regular checkups, and x-rays – and more. Many plans also include discounts on prescriptions as well as vision and hearing care. Some even include telemedicine discounts, cost-savings on fitness and wellness programs and other bonus perks.
*Cost averages obtained from DentalPlans.com procedure search tool, and are an average of costs in zip codes 10025 (NYC, NY), 33135 (Miami, FL) and 60603 (Chicago, IL).